Santander bank starts a federal model

Santander's Spain business

This is a unique, innovative and uncommon structure amongst global banks. The experience in Brazil, which is Santander’s most important market, has been bittersweet. That said, it would seem  like a strategic approach in such an accredited nationalistic country.

Trading its British business in London, the second or third market in importance for the group, is an open project which still has to become a reality when circumstances allow.

In the US market, Santander has sought to play several cards: commercial banking, consumer finance, auto loans and investment banking. But supervisors demand there should be a single council responsible for each individual entity. The Spanish bank is working on that and it is expected to result in a Santander USA, separated from  the Santander group.

Will something similar happen with Santander Spain (Spain and Portugal) or Santander Consumer, or even with Santander Poland? We cannot rule it out.

The bank’s federal spirit  has been apparent for years, given that each market’s independence and financial autonomy were part of the strategy or policy upheld by Emilio Botín. His successor Ana Botín seems determined to emphasize that, with the scope and consequences yet to be seen.

About the Author

Fernando Gonzalez Urbaneja
Over 30 years working in economic journalism. Fernando was founder and chief-editor at El País, general editor at the business daily Cinco Días, and now teaches at Universidad Carlos III. He's been president of the Madrid Press Association and the Spanish Federation of Press Associations. He's also member of the Spanish press complaints commission.

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